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The Auckland Super City Logo Competition was a farce, and I admit it, I did it. I entered it. Since embarking on my career in design (...13 years ago), I was nourished on the idea that good design could influence society. I hated the idea of the Auckland super city, and the bullshit politics that were feeding the monster that was to become the new “Supercity”. I hated it, and to improve it, even cosmetically, I wanted to stamp my mark on it when it came into being in November of 2010. With the autocratic terms and conditions of entering the logo competition (...that all entries would belong

to the new council) and the fact that there were no design or branding experts on the judging panel was a sign all was not as it should be. As it turned out these fears were well founded, and we ended up with a mediocre design, a stylised pohutukawa flower. The idea in itself was ok, a regional flower, with stamin that represented the former councils merging into one. But where is the dynamism? the emotion? the pride? forward thinking? It is sadly, a fair representation on what the new city will become. Here is design influencing society. We are, and will become, a city lacking in pride, emotion, dynamism and be henceforth, forever


stuck in the past. I liked the idea that we as people of this city might have had some say in the way we see our city, and the way the world sees us. The organisers perpetuated this scam. With 1500 odd entries in the logo competition, there must have been some outstanding options? Why is it that there was no public exhibition of the entries in the competition? Surely that would have indicated some sort of transparency. After the outcry from the Auckland CIty “urinal” logo debacle and the cost of it’s rebranding, this Auckland Council logo competition was an attempt to prevent a similar outcry, by having

a ‘free’ logo created, by the people. What the people don’t know is that after a logo is created, it has to become a “brand.” The guidelines have to be created, a huge book of instructions on the brand’s usage. The brand has to be applied to all stationary, signage, vehicles, etc etc... and the overall cost will equal, if not top, the previous rebranding exercise, which was only a few years ago. So far, by being mediocre, the outcry has been minimal. So it seems, the rebranding scam/sham, has been ultimately successful. Do you think anyone on

the judging panel looked at how other city councils around the world were being branded? Sure, some cities around the world have some pretty bad brands too, but they should have been examples of what “not” to do. Unfortunately, we have now been added to that number. Embarrassing as it is, it seems that Invercargill has a better logo. In contrast Melbourne’s recent rebranding makes my heart skip, and must be a true benchmark for contemporary city branding. So why did I do it? I had an Idea. I had an idea for how I would have liked our city to be represented. I had a chance I would otherwise not have had. If the council had gone straight to a

design agency, I would not have had ANY chance. As small as the statistics were, it was worth a shot. And losing copyright was (almost) worth it. I had a vision of a dynamic, world class, interesting, cool, recognisable, stylistic brand, that had an unlimited number of ways to interpret it’s meaning. It could have meant something (...different) to everyone. Perhaps it was too corporate? Perhaps it was too clever? Or maybe it just wasn’t very good. Either way it did not win, and I have no idea how it stacked up against the other entries, but I sure as hell prefer it to the winning entry. Auckland City, has a history

of mediocrity, and for the foreseeable future, this is set to continue.


Why I did It  

The aftermath of the Auckland city council logo competition

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